Kente is a traditional cloth in Ghana. It’s worn on special occasions by the select few.
I use the phrase “select few” because an original Kente clothe is quite expensive and heavy therefore not many can afford. The men will normally wrap them around their body and over their shoulder whiles the women will sew them into traditional Kaba and Slit apparels.
Aside its beautiful design, do you know that the patterns of a Kente clothe has a special meaning? Yes they do. There are over 300 different Kente patterns and these are inspired by religious beliefs, political ideas and social customs, proverbs, historical events, important chiefs, queen mothers and even plants.
Below are some Kente patterns and what they mean.
Nanka Tire (Head of the Puff Adder)
This is used to depict exploitation and forced labour.
Oyokoman Na Agya Da Mu (Crisis In The Oyoko Nation)
It depicts internal conflicts, warning against internal strife, need for unity in diversity and reconciliation. It commemorates the civil war between two factions of the Oyoko Royal family after the death of Osei Tutu.
Sika Fre Mogya
This simply means that when one becomes successful, one has a responsibility to share his/her success with relatives.
It depicts dependency on a superior being (God) other than oneself. It also promotes decentralization of powers.
It depicts strength, toughness and resilience. It got it’s name from the Babadua tree which is a strong tree used for building fences, thatch roofs and barricades during war. This pattern is also used in weaving the hem of all other kente designs.
Fathia Fata Nkrumah (Fathia is a befitting wife for Nkrumah)
This is named after the wife of the first President of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah.
Adwinasa (All motifs are used up)
This pattern symbolises royalty, elegance, creative ingenuity, superior craftsmanship. According to history, the designer of this cloth, attempted to weave a unique cloth to please the Asantehene. In his effort, he used all the motifs then known to weavers in weaving one cloth. In the end he remarked that he had exhausted all the repertoire of motifs known to Asante weavers. The cloth was, therefore viewed as one of the top quality, and the most prestigious of kente cloths, besides those woven exclusively for Asante Kings.
Ohene Anewa (The Kings Eye)
Means the King sees everything.